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Unemployment Rate Stabilises – UR NOW

The latest monthly estimate from the Unemployment Rate – Nowcast (UR-NOW) model has the unemployment rate steady on 4.7 per cent.

The May figure has been released by the Centre for Social Data Analytics at the Auckland University of Technology.

The UR-NOW model makes a monthly prediction of what the quarterly unemployment rate will be, using benefits and job data.

The estimates are designed to signal likely official quarterly unemployment rates and give an early warning of changes in labour market and economic conditions.

The official unemployment rate is based on Stats NZ’s Household Labour Force Survey over a three-month period, so there is a natural delay of up to four months while that information is collected, analysed and published.

AUT Professor Tim Maloney, also Chief Economist at the Ministry for Social Development built the UR-NOW tool with David Rea, a Principal Advisor at the Ministry of Social Development.

“Using data from April and May, we estimate that the unemployment rate for Quarter 2 (April-June 2021) is tracking at 4.7 per cent,” Professor Maloney says.

“This figure is only slightly higher than our first estimate for Quarter 2, of 4.6 per cent, and identical to the official unemployment rate for Quarter 1 (Jan-March 2021) of 4.7 per cent.

“This suggests that the unemployment rate has stabilised for now at around the 4.7 per cent level and allays concerns that the labour market may have deteriorated recently as a result of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.”

The final UR-NOW estimate for Quarter 2 will be released in the first week of July, with the official unemployment rate for Quarter 2 due to be released by Statistics New Zealand in the first week of August.

UR-NOW predictions appear on this page of the Centre for Social Data Analytics at AUT, usually at the end of the week after the month finishes.

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